New Kihikihi playground to open in May

A concept of the new playground plans for John Rochfort park in Kihikihi

Kihikihi is on the countdown towards a brand new playground…plus a spruce up of an old one.

Work to completely revamp John Rochfort Park on the corner of Hall and Bryce Streets will begin this month. The new $300,000 playground will include a wooden tree house, giant mushrooms, a bee rocker, timber play material, a spinning seat, double bay swings, in-ground trampolines, boulders and other features.

At the same time, Waipā District Council will install extra seating, a picnic table and gardens. The existing and much-loved mature trees at the park will remain, providing important shade.

Brad Ward. Photo: Benjamin Wilson

Community services manager Brad Ward said council has been rolling out a series of new playgrounds across the district as part of the $3.68 million renewal programme, alongside $4.26m for new play spaces, approved in the last 10-year plan. So far, new or upgraded playgrounds have been unveiled at Te Koo Utu in Cambridge and Centennial Park and Pioneer Park, both in Te Awamutu.

“Kihikihi has been waiting a long time and personally I’m really, really happy to see it underway.  It’s in a great spot and it’s going to be a fantastic asset for the community and especially for local tamariki,” Ward said.

“Depending on weather, the work is expected to take around three months with the playground ready to use by May. So hang in there Kihikihi, the countdown is on.”

The work will be undertaken by Fluhler Contracting. During construction, security fencing and cameras will be installed and will be actively monitored.

“If anyone sees people on the worksite after hours, or sees any kind of vandalism, please call the police immediately because it’s local kids who will miss out.”

Once the new playground is complete, council also plans to refresh existing play equipment at the Rewi Maniapoto Reserve. The upgrade will include a new spinner, refurbishing the swing set and laying new safety surfacing. A new fence and garden will be built adjacent to the road to enclose the space and create a safer play area.

“We need to look after what we have and we do try to renew new play equipment when budget allows and certainly before it becomes a health and safety hazard or needs a lot of maintenance,” Ward said.

“So while it’s fantastic to see a brand new playground on the way for Kihikihi, it will be great to see Rewi Maniapoto Reserve also get some love,” Ward said.

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